This is not a single book review but a set of them all about Genes and Evolution and all written by Richard Dawkins. For me personally, it opened up a whole new world that I was blissfully unaware of. I was never a good science student with Biology and Chemistry being one of my least favourite subjects then. So imagine my thrill when I found addicted to these books and probably rediscovered some lost part of me.
I started with “Selfish Gene” and later went through “The Blind Watchmaker“, “God Delusional” and “The Greatest Show on Earth” and now reading the “Ancestor’s Tale“.
There are some mind blowing concepts and to be truly able to appreciate them, you need to be prepared to come with an open mind – preferably a curious one without the baggage of religious dogma. Even if you are of the religious type, you can still enjoy the beauty of Genetics and Evolution and some answers or at the least probings into deep questions like
- Do males by nature tend to be promiscuous in the animal kingdom. If so why?
- Why are we so attached to our siblings and kids. Is there any science behind it and why/how does it reduce as you go through the family tree?
- Is it even conceivable that something as complex as our eyes can be achieved without a design?
- Is evolution random or does it have some kind of incremental logic?
Dawkins is one of those brilliant writers who know how to explain complex science in simple words. You can listen to the well made audiobook versions too with amazing rendering by both Dawkins and Lala. The order of reading the books is not rigid and you can start with any of them and move to any other. But having gone through them I would suggest probably with “The Greatest Show on Earth” or “The Blind Watchmaker” and keep “Selfish Gene” for much later. Disclosure: I had also read Gene – An intimate history by Siddarth Mukerjee before Dawkins which has some amazing introduction to Genetics as a whole but it is not a mandatory read for Dawkins’ books.
Happy Reading 🙂